Profitability - Fiddly Jobs

We all get them, little fiddly jobs that interrupt your main production day, Jobs that you feel guilty about charging the real price for. Interruptive work is defined as jobs that are not simple and profit producing like bulk trophy orders. Make a bulk trophy order and it is repetitive and consistent profit producing. Making an odd job, which can be enjoyable and add variation to your day, still needs to produce at least the same profit potential as the bulk jobs. In fact I would say to you they should be premium profit. There are ways of charging what you really should be charging. Let’s explore.

In today’s world more than ever time is money. The cost of living is rising rapidly. Home ownership, even for high income families, is getting tougher. Fuel and food are going up. Freight has gone through the roof and the cost of materials in the trophy industry has also increased. As business people we have to keep pace with rising costs because ultimately we are here to make money – more money than we would if we had a job.

Here are a few jobs that roll in which I call fiddly time consumers.

  • Engraving the underside of a watch
  • Engrave an Urn
  • Engraving an ATM with numbers onto buttons
  • Mount tools or machine parts
  • Engrave timber homemade truck
  • Engrave and paint fill timber barrel

All these jobs can be a bit fiddly, some require special care because they are lacquered items brought to you by the customer and you can never be sure of how they will go. Most of these items will likely take about half an hour to get to the point of engraving. Time spent is required in showroom, production planning, artwork and sign off, machine and jig set up and test run. This time can be easily overlooked when coming up with a price.

One way of ensuring you get a good price is to have a standard minimum charge and then build from there. Let’s say you want to earn $80.00 per hour for labour (a fairly low rate these days). You’ll need to add in OPEX factoring (operating expenses aka Overhead) which is likely to be close to another r$80.00 per hour – so call it $160 per hour minimum earning. A fiddly job takes on average 30 minutes to get ready for engraving so a minimum charge of $80 plus gst would be charged, plus material, plus engraving time. Having a minimum charge allows you to make less decisions at the sales point and gets interruptive jobs to more profitable.

I can hear many people saying, “Oh customers wouldn’t pay that much.” Well maybe you can explain the time factor and maybe they will get it once they know what’s involved. Honesty often leads to clarity. These price suggestions are just suggestions, you can determine what is profitable in your own business. The main point here is having a pre-determined base to start from helps you make less decisions in front of a customer.

Someone from a business walks into the showroom with a lovely frame they want an engraving plate for. They want it really nice and stuck on the angled frame. Ok so perhaps $80.00 is not going to be appropriate but I reckon $45-55 plus tax is not going to be an issue.